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Rob Rennie | Believers, real believers in Jesus Christ are always misunderstood by the religious majority.
The Lord Jesus Christ was persecuted and killed by the religious people of his time. These were people who considered themselves righteous believers in God. They were Torah-observant, went to synagogue and partook in the Jewish feast days. They fasted, prayed and kept the law. What would cause them to completely miss the next move of God, the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ?
To answer that question, you’d have to answer these other questions: ‘What caused the early Catholic Church to mercilessly persecute and murder other believers in Christ who refused to submit to their doctrines and who insisted on reading the Bible for themselves?’ ‘What has caused the terrible splintering of the modern Christian Church?’ ‘Why is there so much infighting and disagreement among people of the faith?’ In all cases, the answer is a lot simpler than you think. It’s because most men trust in other men rather than God. What do I mean? I mean people put their trust in priests, rabbis, pastors and doctrines of men rather than the very spirit of the living God. As if they didn’t realize that it was God through his Holy Spirit who authored it all from the very beginning. There’s a great scripture in John Chapter 8 regarding this very issue.
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with[l] your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
48 Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.50 And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word.56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple,[n] going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
In this passage, the Lord Jesus has a conversation with some Jewish men. This dialogue is extremely interesting because it reveals a great deal. The first thing we should note is that the men don’t understand what bondage is. The Lord Jesus is of course referring here to spiritual bondage a.k.a. demonic oppression, which is why he responds, “He who commits sin is a slave of sin.” If we read into the Lord’s statement here, what he is saying is exactly what I’ve been trying to tell people on this blog from the beginning. He’s saying that once we commit sin, demonic spirits can attach themselves to us and subtly influence us to commit sin, keeping us in spiritual blindness and bondage to that sin. Thus, we become ‘slaves’ to sin, the only solution to which is asking the Lord Jesus to deliver you (click here for information on how to do Self Deliverance).
These Jews, however, aren’t completely in the dark regarding the things of the spirit because they accuse the Lord Jesus of having a demon. The irony of course is that these men are the ones who have the demon(s) and the Lord says so himself by boldly declaring, “You are of your Father, the devil.” Clearly, the Lord has no problem calling out the self-righteous. I believe the main reason why the Lord made this statement was because these Jews, although they believed in God and observed the law of Moses, were not willing to repent of their deep-seeded sins. God isn’t interested in an outward show. He wants us to be righteous down to the very core of our being. True repentance requires humility and how many of us are willing to humble ourselves and say, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I’ve been wrong’, and ‘Forgive me’ to God? This is the main difference between a child of God and child of the devil.
But the interesting part of this whole scripture is how the men are totally unable to comprehend what the Lord Jesus is saying. If you go back and re-read the entire exchange, what you’re witnessing is really a disconnect between what the Lord Jesus is saying, on the one hand, and the thoughts and perspectives of the Jewish men, who think entirely in terms of the physical world. At the end of the day, it comes down to having knowledge of the spirit and knowing God, not just from reading the Bible, but knowing him as he really is.
Believers in Jesus Christ who exercise spiritual gifts, prophesy, and cast out demons know who God is. They understand that God is the Father of Spirits and that he’s the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They understand that he speaks today and is active in our daily lives, that he has a plan for our lives. They understand that there is a spiritual battle going on and that souls hang in the balance. Those who really understand the gravity of the situation are more likely to take drastic measures to spread the Gospel and combat the spiritual evil that is in the world through sin.
We need to pray for the Christian church so that we wake up and stop denying the Holy Spirit because if we don’t, we’re going to miss what God is saying. What is the spirit saying to the churches? That’s what we should be concerned with because great changes are coming to the world and we need to get ready. The signs are all around us from the imminent global economic collapse to the crisis in the Middle-East, to societal changes that threaten to drive God out of our nation.
We need to warn people about the End Times. We need to talk about the Rapture, the Antichrist, Biblical prophecy being fulfilled, how to stay righteous and without sin, deliverance and a whole host of other issues that directly pertain to the things of the spirit. Those who are not led by the Holy Spirit are going to be spiritually blind to what’s going on in the world. Which one are you? Led by the Holy Spirit of the living God, led by your own human intellect, or led by the intellect of some pastor or rabbi? Whichever you choose, remember, God chooses the foolish things of this world to confound the wisdom of the wise.
If you haven’t let the Holy Spirit into your life yet, you need to pray the following: “God, I ask you to send me your Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth and show me what your will is for my life. Thank you, Lord. Amen.” It’s as simple as that. Men make it more complex, but not God.